Work of TAXE committee unfinished; political responsibilities need to be determined
A press release of Fabio De Masi
Speaking during the European Parliament debate on the TAXE committee's report at the end of its one-year mandate, GUE/NGL MEPs stressed that the work of the committee was clearly not finished and needs to be extended, and those who were in positions of responsibility when fraudulent tax arrangements were set up had to be taken to task.
German GUE/NGL MEP Fabio De Masi said: "Every year we lose one trillion euros through tax tricks while the godfathers of tax cartels - Jean-Claude Juncker and Jeroen Dijsselbloem - simply impose austerity on us."
On the issue of access to documents, he said: "These have not been provided to us by the Commission or they've been blackened out, so we are going to take a case before the European Court of Justice because citizens deserve to know the truth. We also have new information on how Juncker and Dijsselbloem defended their tax tricks. And Juncker did not tell the truth to this Parliament about the Krecke report and so he must come back to explain this".
He continued: "We have managed to put many positive elements in the report with respect to tax rulings and tax havens and country-by-country reporting, but this is not enough. An exchange of information on tax rulings has to be made public. We need a permanent committee of inquiry with tools. We need to get to the bottom of this matter."
Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias reiterated this: "We are just at the end of the first phase of work here and practically everything is left to be done. Tax fraud, tax evasion, tax havens and evasion by multinationals lead to billions of euros being taken from state coffers for health care and for education. For multinationals it is Christmas every day, but not for workers in SMEs who just see tax increases and who pay their tax bills."
For Portuguese MEP Miguel Viegas, tax fraud and tax evasion is general practice in most member states and governments have known about it for decades. "These practices are aimed at removing tax revenue from sovereign countries and are inimical to the EU integration process where free movement of goods and globalisation are watchwords. The report isn't complete. We are looking at various obstacles and we are trying to fight them. We need to get the EU institutions to face their responsibilities and come up with an action plan and implement it."
Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Paloma López Bermejo said: "We're pleased that this report takes a clear stand against tax evasion and its devastating effects, particularly on workers who suffer from cuts despite the fact that they pay the taxes that companies are avoiding. However, we need a clearer position on the political responsibility of the Commission and Council who are arrogantly trying to stop the Committee from doing its job. We need more transparency as well as protection for whistle-blowers."